CC Outtake: Two Long Life Cars, or Suddenly It’s 1985

These two highly durable veterans from another era hang out a lot at this corner, sharing stories from the 1980s. I know the MR2 is a 1985, from its license plate, but I’m having a bit of trouble pinning down the exact year of the Volvo 244. 1979? 1980? It was a transitional year, between the single large round headlights and the quad rectangular ones.

In any case, these two have a lot of stories to share, if only they could talk.

Given that it’s been 35 years since the Toyota MR2 first graced our land, it’s not surprising that their number have dwindled rather precipitously in recent years. Toyotas seem to have about a 30 year life span, at least here in Eugene. But once they get to the other side of that, things become a bit more precarious. It’s not like they start falling apart at the seams, but little things start to crop up more and more, and owners eventually lose interest in dealing with them. For most, thta means upgrading from a 1990 Corolla to a 2005 model.

But when you have a gen1 MR2, there’s no easy replacement. What would it be? A Pontiac Fiero?  I kid…

The interior of this one is in comparable shape to the exterior: showing some signs of wear, but still pretty solid. The near-indestructible drive train is probably still good to go too. If the owner can deal with the occasional hiccup, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in 2035.

The Volvo 240 Series has been wearing the long-life vehicle crown for decades now. It never fails to amaze me just how good their bodies still look as long as they haven’t actually been beaten with a flail or cudgel regularly by their owners. Even the paint, good old school European enamel, holds up remarkably well over the decades.

This is a 244 DL, meaning the by-far most popular model, with the 2.1 L red block OHC four, whose toughness need not be extolled any further here today.

This is a stick shift version, which is a good thing. Is it still the venerable four speed, with optional overdrive? When was that replaced by the five speed? I can’t be bothered to do all the looking up for that right now. The interior is also in about the same shape as the exterior as well as the MR2: used but quite decent. Looks like it too has another 10-15 years left in it.

There’s still as slew of the 240 Volvos in town. lately I’ve seen some in the hands of quite young owners; they seem to be as hip as ever. Their grandmothers might well have bee driving them. And they do send a very strong anti-CUV message, just like in its day this Volvo sent a very strong anti-brougham message. It’s not done messaging…